More than one hour into his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey told the story about how he had a “close friend” share the contents of a handwritten memo to the press.
The revelation came after he was questioned by Maine Senator Susan Collins regarding the reason he kept memos about his various meetings with Trump. She asked him if he ever showed the memos to anyone outside the Department of Justice, to which Comey answered, “Yes.”
The former FBI director said that he “woke up in the middle of the night” May 15 because “it didn’t dawn on (him) originally that there might be corroboration of (their) conversation, there might be a tape.”
Comey said that he thought the best path going forward was getting the contents of the memo out to the public. He said that he asked a close friend to share the contents of the memo with a reporter, thought to be working for New York Times. Comey added that he opted to do so because he thought it’d push special counsel to be appointed to the FBI’s ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign, which it ended up doing.
Watch a video of Comey saying the process he went through below:
While Comey stopped short of revealing the identification of his “friend,” he said that he’s a professor at Columbia University.
That man was Daniel C. Richman, who’s been a longtime friend of Comeys and is a law professor at Columbia. Richman confirmed to The Washington Post that it was him who shared information about the meeting with the media, but declined to comment further.
The memo in question was spoken about in a New York Times article May 16, one day after Comey said he woke up in the middle of the night.
The memo allegedly said that Trump asked Comey in a meeting to “shut down” the federal investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn.
During the meeting, which took place in February inside of the Oval Office, Comey said that Trump told him “I hope you can let this go,” in regard to the investigation.